Seven years to the very day that hurricane Katrina struck the gulf coast, tropical storm Isaac is on track to hit the very same area of Louisiana.
Following Katrina, Oklahoma Baptists spent four and a half months in New Orleans providing emergency food service, followed by 18 months of mud-out and restoration (250 homes and 9 SBC churches in the 8th and 9th ward of New Orleans).
Now as the storm named Isaac approaches, the Oklahoma Baptist team has been asked to place two feeding units on stand-by in case our services are needed again.
Gene Jones, the Oklahoma Baptist feeding coordinator, has placed the SW Oklahoma Zone on stand-by to go first. It will be led by John Doffer, blue cap. Also on stand-by is the SE zone led by Bob Oldham. They are ready to serve alongside Oklahoma Emergency Management in the event of mass evacuation from southern Louisiana. These two teams will need 50 people to make it happen.
The “strike force” team of 10 men, who deliver and set up the 25,000 meal per day mobile kitchen, are ready to roll whenever we get the call.
The teams will not go until the storm has made landfall and it is safe to enter. In times past the teams have left OKC just about the time the storm hits the coast, however Isaac is moving slowly so that will possibly change with this deployment.
If our services are considered necessary, then we will go into a rotational system based on the 5 different zones across Oklahoma.
If the large kitchen is required, then we will also need to activate chain saw teams and the child care unit.
When this size of operation takes place we could have 75-100 volunteers on the ground every week. We pray that this storm will not be as destructive, but we must be ready and willing to go within the next 24-48 hours if the need arises.
We will keep you posted as we await the arrival of Isaac and the Louisiana officials’ decision on what kind of assistance they need.
It looks like Wednesday will be our last day of ash-out in Creek County. I am just overwhelmed at the incredible speed and passion that all of our team, along with 8 other state conventions, exhibited in helping 300 families clear their home sites across Oklahoma in less than 3 weeks of work.
I have never seen such a deployment with such quick response to finish the task so fast in my 14 years as the director of Oklahoma Disaster Relief. GREAT job!! I Praise the Lord for you daily.
From the ashes in Oklahoma to the gulf……God can and will equip us to do anything He has called us to do, and He will give us the strength to carry on!!!
Your Brother in Christ,
Director, Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief